Building Dapol Wagon Kits – What you need to know.

Dapol regent tanker

Dapol wagon kits are a quick and easy way to add to your rolling stock collection. You don’t need to be a kit building expert, just follow the simple tips below.

The ex-Kitmaster, ex-Airfix wagon kits, now available from Dapol, are a cheap way to add rolling stock. There are, however, a few issues to keep in mind when building them.

The mouldings are not exactly finescale, so just have fun!

Dapol tanker kit with borrowed Hornby wheels. It was sprayed after the underframe was assembled.

Building the kit

Contrary to what you will read elsewhere, assemble the main components before painting. It is far easier to attach small parts if they are not covered in paint. Tube, plastic cement is more than adequate.

Leave off the vacuum pipes as they will foul the couplings. You can use the buffer beam hooks but cut of the hanging chain links. The buffers will most likely need some flash removing. The brakes are probably the most fiddly things to fit. Do this last with the wheels in place, as a guide.


Firstly, assemble the underframe and tank or body before painting. Then buy a cheap spray can of matt black paint.

You can get a large can for £5, from Wilko. Use a wooden stick or dowel and clamp it onto the frame with a bulldog clip or similar. With some parts, you can temporarily glue the “handle” on. You will them be able to manoeuvre the model while spraying all those awkward corners. Use short blasts and keep the model moving. You might need a couple of coats.

Once sprayed, take a large lump of Plasticine and press in down onto a flat surface. Push the stick with the parts on it, into the Plasticine and leave to dry.

You can spray the whole underframe in about 60 seconds. Compare that to hand painting!


The best material to weight the models is good old Plasticine. It is heavy, cheap as chips and easy to keep in place. The tanker model has a “sausage” of Plasticine in the tank. Just remember to put it in there before gluing on the end cap!


The finescale metal wheels provided, tend to fall off the track! They have a minuscule flange and would not stay on even 3rd radius curves. You should be OK if you have very good track work. I “borrowed” some Hornby wheels, and , yes, The wagon stayed upright! The original plastic wheels from the kit also seen to work OK.


NEM Couplings are provided. You will need to remove various protuberances from the buffer beams before fitting. I cut the locating pip off them and used a small amount of epoxy to hold them on. This gives you some manoeuvring time.

Push another wagon up against end end of the kit build and connect the couplings. You can use the other wagons to keep the kit couplings at the correct high and angle, while the glue sets.


The provided decals had yellowed varnish, however,most of this washes off when fitting. when the decals have dried, give the model a top coat of matt varnish. This will make the finish more durable and seal in the decals.

You could also try some other liveries with the tank wagon using third party decals.